Category Archives: Energy News

Halogen lightbulb sales to be banned in UK under new government plans

The government has announced plans to end the sale of halogen light bulbs from this September, as part of the UK’s wider efforts to tackle climate change.

Legislation being brought forward this month will also include the removal of fluorescent lights from shelves from September 2023.

Currently, around 2 thirds of bulbs sold in Britain are LED lights, making a considerable impact in improving the energy efficiency of the country’s buildings. They last 5 times longer than traditional halogen lightbulbs and produce the same amount of light – but use up to 80% less power.

The UK began phasing out the sale of higher-energy halogen lightbulbs in 2018. The new legislation would mean retailers will no longer be able to sell the majority of halogen bulbs for general household use in the UK from 1 September.

To help people make the switch, ministers are also announcing that all light bulbs will start to feature new energy efficiency advice via ‘rescaled’ energy labels on their boxes. The labels will simplify the way energy efficiency is displayed on a new scale from A-G, doing away with the A+, A++ or A+++ ratings. The new labels will raise the bar for each class, meaning very few bulbs will now be classified as A, helping consumers choose the most environmentally friendly bulbs.

This measure is expected to mean that LED light bulbs will account for 85% of all bulbs sold by 2030.

In addition, the government also plans to start phasing out the sale of high-energy fluorescent lightbulbs, with a view to bringing an end to their sale from September 2023.

Taken together, these new rules will mark a significant shift to more energy efficient and longer lasting LEDs and will stop 1.26 million tonnes of carbon being emitted every year – the equivalent of removing over half a million cars from the UK’s roads.

The move is part of a package of energy efficiency improvements to electrical appliances, which will save consumers an average of £75 a year on energy bills.

Energy Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said:

We’re phasing out old inefficient halogen bulbs for good, so we can move more quickly to longer lasting LED bulbs, meaning less waste and a brighter and cleaner future for the UK.

By helping ensure electrical appliances use less energy but perform just as well, we’re saving households money on their bills and helping tackle climate change.

Today’s plans also include a ban from September on the sale of lighting fixtures with fixed bulbs that can’t be replaced – meaning the fixtures have to be thrown away. Fixtures such as these account for 100,000 tonnes of electrical waste every year – out of a total 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste each year.

Minister for Climate Change, Lord Martin Callanan, said:

Flicking the off-switch on energy inefficient light bulbs is a simple way that households can save money at the same time as saving the planet.

Phasing out halogen bulbs in favour of LED alternatives that last longer, are just as bright and cheaper to run, is another way that we are helping tackle climate change.

Chief Executive of Signify UK, which owns Philips lighting, Stephen Rouatt, said:

We welcome the UK government’s next step in the transition towards more sustainable lighting products. Using energy-efficient LED equivalents for halogen and fluorescent lighting on an even broader scale will significantly help the UK on its journey to decarbonisation, as well as lowering the annual electricity bills for consumers.

Overall, the government’s package of energy efficiency improvements will also cut 8 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2021 by reducing the amount of energy products consume over their life-time – the equivalent of removing all emissions from Birmingham and Leeds each year.

Electrical appliances to be cheaper to run and last longer with new standards

Not directly related to the Wiring Regulations, but this will be seen as good news for consumers and those who repair electrical goods.

Fridges, washing machines and televisions will soon be cheaper to run, easier to repair and will last longer thanks to plans for new energy efficiency legislation announced by UK government (Wednesday 10th March).

Ministers are set to introduce tough new rules for electrical products to tackle ‘premature obsolescence’ – a short lifespan deliberately built into an appliance by manufacturers which leads to unnecessary and costly replacements for the consumer.

From this Summer, manufacturers will be legally obliged to make spare parts for products available to consumers for the first time – a new legal right for repairs – so that electrical appliances can be fixed easily. The move is expected to extend the lifespan of products by up to 10 years – preventing appliances ending up on the scrap heap sooner than they should and reducing carbon emissions at the same time. The UK generates around 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste every year.

The changes will also set far higher energy-efficiency standards for electrical products which, overall, will save consumers an average of £75 a year on energy bills. They will cut 8 mega tonnes of carbon emissions in 2021 by reducing the amount of energy products consume over their life-time – the equivalent of removing all emissions from Birmingham and Leeds each year.

Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

Our plans to tighten product standards will ensure more of our electrical goods can be fixed rather than thrown on the scrap heap, putting more money back in the pockets of consumers whilst protecting the environment.

Going forward, our upcoming energy efficiency framework will push electrical products to use even less energy and material resources, saving people money on their bills and reducing carbon emissions as we work to reach net zero by 2050.

Meanwhile, from 1 March, new energy labels have also been introduced which simplify the way energy efficiency is displayed on a new scale from A-G. Today the vast majority of appliances are classified as A+, A++ or A+++. The new labels will improve the old system by raising the bar for each class, meaning very few appliances will now be classified as A.

The changes will provide more accurate information on energy efficiency, incentivising manufacturers to go further. They are also designed to encourage consumers to buy more energy efficient products, and boost people’s confidence in the environmental credentials of the products they are buying. Now the UK is an independent nation outside the EU, the EU emblem on energy efficiency labels has also been replaced with the Union Flag.

Climate Change Minister, Lord Callanan, said:

We can all play our part in ending our contribution to climate change, even when we’re choosing a new electrical appliance. The new energy labels we have introduced this week will help consumers make more informed decisions about how eco-friendly one smart TV or dishwasher is over another, helping us reduce our carbon footprint and build back greener.

Head of International Collaboration at Energy Saving Trust, Emilie Carmichael, said:

This is another positive step in raising the minimum energy performance for domestic products. Simplifying the way energy efficiency is displayed on labels will help consumers to make more informed choices to reduce their energy consumption and bills. Equally, every small step that consumers take in choosing the most efficient appliances will help the UK in reaching its net zero targets.

The government is also today publishing a summary of responses to a recent call for evidence on energy-related products, which explored the scope for introducing even more ambitious climate-friendly policy for energy consuming appliances now the UK has left the EU transition period. This work feeds into a forthcoming policy framework, which the Prime Minister included in his 10 Point Plan for a green industrial revolution.

New plans to make UK world leader in green energy

The Prime Minister has set out new plans to Build Back Greener by making the UK the world leader in clean wind energy – creating jobs, slashing carbon emissions and boosting exports.

£160 million will be made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure across communities like in Teesside and Humber in Northern England, Scotland and Wales to hugely increase our offshore wind capacity, which is already the largest in the world and currently meets 10 per cent of our electricity demand.

This new investment will see around 2,000 construction jobs rapidly created and will enable the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories and the supply chains, manufacturing the next-generation of offshore wind turbines and delivering clean energy to the UK.

Through this, UK businesses including smaller suppliers will be well-placed to win orders and further investment from energy companies around the world and increase their competitive standing on the global stage, as well as supporting low-carbon supply chains.

The Prime Minister has also set out further commitments to ensure that, within the decade, the UK will be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution as we accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050.

These include:

  • Confirming offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030, based on current electricity usage, boosting the government’s previous 30GW target to 40GW.
  • Creating a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1GW of energy by 2030, which is over 15 times the current volumes worldwide. Building on the strengths of our North Sea, this brand new technology allows wind farms to be built further out to sea in deeper waters, boosting capacity even further where winds are strongest and ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of the next generation of clean energy.
  • Setting a target to support up to double the capacity of renewable energy in the next Contracts for Difference auction, which will open in late 2021 – providing enough clean, low cost energy to power up to 10 million homes

These commitments are the first stage outlined as part of the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, which will be set out fully later this year. This is expected to include ambitious targets and major investment into industries, innovation and infrastructure that will accelerate the UK’s path to net zero by 2050.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

Our seas hold immense potential to power our homes and communities with low-cost green energy and we are already leading the way in harnessing its strengths.

Now, as we build back better we must build back greener. So we are committing to new ambitious targets and investment into wind power to accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050.

This sets us on our path towards a green industrial revolution, which will provide tens of thousands of highly-skilled jobs.

Together with planned stringent requirements on supporting UK manufacturers in government-backed renewables projects, these measures will mean the industry can reach its target of 60% of offshore wind farm content coming from the UK.

Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said:

The offshore wind sector is a major British success story, providing cheap, green electricity while supporting thousands of good-quality jobs.

Powering every home in the country through offshore wind is hugely ambitious, but it’s exactly this kind of ambition which will mean we can build back greener and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Today’s announcement marks the latest stage of the government’s support for renewable energy. Last September the third round of the Contracts for Difference renewable energy auction delivered record-low prices on enough clean energy to power 7 million homes. Earlier this year the government announced the next round would be open to onshore wind and solar projects for the first time since 2015.

The UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, with around 10GW in operation off its coasts.

The government’s plan for renewable energy forms part of wider efforts to ensure the UK meets its legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and build back greener from coronavirus.

Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country. In 2019, UK emissions were 42 per cent lower than in 1990, while our economy over the same period grew by 72 per cent.

Hugh McNeal, CEO of RenewableUK, said:

The government has raised the ambition for offshore wind and renewables, and our industry is ready to meet the challenge. A green recovery with renewables at its heart will be good for consumers and jobs, as well as helping to meet our 2050 net zero emissions target. Support for new floating wind projects will ensure the UK stays at the forefront of global innovation in renewables, and provides new opportunities in the low carbon transition.

Energy UK’s Chief Executive, Emma Pinchbeck, said:

The UK’s power sector has reduced emissions by nearly 70%, but we know we need to go further and faster on the road to Net Zero. The energy industry will work with Government to turn our world-leading low carbon power sector into a Green Recovery for the whole economy.

The package of support for offshore and floating wind announced by the Prime Minister today takes a UK decarbonisation success story and winds it up to a scale fit for the Green Recovery, creating jobs and billions of pounds of investment.

We need to build back better for the environment, for the economy and for communities. We look forward to the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for the low carbon industrial revolution, later this autumn.

Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower, said:

These bold ambitions and clear targets are exactly the right signals at exactly the right time. They will encourage long-term investment and innovation from the renewables industry – and they will boost employment and economic benefits right across the UK. ScottishPower is committed to doubling down on our commitments to delivering 100% clean green energy that matches the UK’s aim to cut emissions for every home.

Benj Sykes, Industry Chair of OWIC, said:

Offshore wind is on track to become the backbone of Britain’s electricity system, providing reliable, low-cost clean power to homes and businesses across the country. The industry is investing tens of billions of pounds in new offshore wind projects, supporting local economies and employment in communities across the UK. Our global leadership in offshore wind, coupled with new support for investment in ports, will help unlock the huge opportunity for the UK to build a world-leading, competitive supply chain.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO of SSE, said:

We welcome today’s announcement which will help ensure that more low cost offshore wind can be deployed before 2030, creating green jobs and putting the UK on the right path to net zero. This complements SSE’s own plans to invest over £7.5 billion in low carbon infrastructure over the next five years, including building the largest offshore wind farm in the world at Dogger Bank with Equinor.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

Fuelling a sustainable economic recovery by reigniting business investment and creating green jobs is the right response to the challenges unleashed by COVID-19.

A low-carbon power system will underpin the green industrial revolution. Investment in port infrastructure and opening up already successful auctions for renewable electricity will help accelerate construction of offshore wind farms and secure low-cost renewable power for homes and businesses.

Duncan Clark, Head of UK Region for Ørsted said:

We welcome today’s announcement from the government which will unlock huge opportunities for world class UK supply chain companies, both domestically and overseas, to market the skills and innovative technologies that have been fostered in the UK offshore wind industry.

Offshore wind is the most cost effective way to achieve the UK’s net zero ambitions and delivering 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 is an essential part of this roadmap. This is a challenging target but achievable if Government and the industry continue to work together to accelerate deployment and build out the UK project pipeline as quickly as possible, regenerating coastal communities while expediting our progress to a more sustainable, low-carbon future.

Dr Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive of the Association for Renewable and Clean Technology (REA) said:

We welcome this important commitment from the Prime Minister to lead a Green Industrial Revolution. The REA has long advocated that the UK can be powered safely and securely by renewable energy. We look forward to working with his Departments on further exciting opportunities for delivering renewable heat and transport and other renewable power technologies and flexibility markets also vital for meeting our Net Zero commitments.

Sabrina Malpede, ACT Blade, Managing Director said:

We are delighted to hear of the government’s plan to support clean wind power development in the UK. Investing in this industry has real potential to create jobs, boost productivity and promote sustainable growth. At ACT Blade, we strive to support wind energy development by contributing to lower its cost. We hope the Build Back Greener plan includes support for innovative technologies and its commercialization, as well as promote policies for a real clean energy transition.

Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said:

The Prime Minister is right to acknowledge the UK’s renewable energy resource as one of the best in the world and right to focus on the development of wind power, as part of a balanced green energy mix, as a key way to power the UK’s green economic recovery.

All parts of the UK can and should benefit from the development of this resource and the renewable energy industry in Scotland looks forward to working alongside government to deliver jobs, investment and innovation as we move towards our ambitious net-zero targets.

Steve Scrimshaw, Vice President, Siemens Energy UK&I, said:

This is an ambitious announcement by the government. Offshore wind with hydrogen energy storage can provide reliable clean energy and will be vital to achieving net zero. The UK’s unique position means we can be at the forefront of developing deeper sea waters and the supply chain will welcome the commitment from Government in this innovative area.

Julian Brown, Vice President and UK Country Manager of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind said:

We strongly support the government’s plans to Build Back Greener! In addition to confirming the immense role offshore wind will have in the UK’s clean growth, the government’s injection of vital funds into ports and manufacturing locations will provide a real boost towards the realisation of many thousands of UK offshore wind jobs. This is truly a step forward for the UK’s green economic recovery.

Tom Glover, RWE UK Country Chair, RWE Renewables, said:

As one of the world’s leading companies for renewable energy, committed to be carbon neutral by 2040 and to grow our renewables portfolio in the UK, RWE welcomes the package of measures to further develop UK offshore wind sector announced by the Prime Minister today. This major step further cements the UK as one of the most attractive markets for investment in offshore wind. We will work with the government and the wider energy industry to deliver these ambitions, creating thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment. We look forward to the Prime Minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution which we hope will include measures to overcome some of the restrictions to rolling out renewable energy even faster, such as the significant and co-ordinated investment in our grid infrastructure.

Mike Hughes, Zone President, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, said:

We welcome today’s news of a substantial investment in next-generation offshore wind projects.

Green technologies hold huge potential to enhance the skills, know-how, and production capabilities across the UK, while also supporting our collective progress towards net zero emissions with high-quality products and technologies developed here in the UK.

We believe there has never been a better time to invest in renewables technology production, as the UK prepares to hosts the milestone 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) next year.

Today, the UK today is already a world scale leader in offshore wind energy, as we pride ourselves on up to 40% renewable energy in our country’s electricity balance. Further investment in making the UK the world leader in low-cost green energy production will fuel growth while keeping costs and emissions in check.

Millions more UK homes to be powered by renewables

Details of the next round of the Contracts for Difference scheme, which opens in 2021, have been set out today, Monday 2 March.

This latest round will be open to renewable technologies including onshore wind and solar, with proposals to include floating offshore wind. The scheme will also be changed to facilitate the deployment of energy storage.

Local communities will have a more effective voice on developments that impact them, through proposals for tough new guidance on community engagement for developers of onshore wind across Great Britain, also announced today. They will have a definitive say on whether projects are allowed to proceed. It will remain the case that no English onshore wind project can proceed without the consent of the local community.

The Committee on Climate Change have said that we need to quadruple renewable energy generation in the UK to reach net zero by 2050, and today’s announcement is a step in that direction.

Secretary of State for Business and Energy Alok Sharma said:

Ending our contribution to climate change means making the UK a world leader in renewable energy.

We are determined to do that in a way that works for everyone, listening to local communities and giving them an effective voice in decisions that affect them.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said:

The government is pressing ahead with action to meet our net zero emissions target quickly and at lowest cost to consumers and businesses. Backing cheap renewables is a clear example of the practical action to tackle climate change that the public is demanding, and this will speed up the transition to a net zero economy.

Today’s consultation outlines proposals to ensure the Contracts for Difference scheme can support the increased ambition required, including:

  • making the UK a world-leader in new technologies such as floating offshore wind, which would allow wind farms to be built further away from the shore and increase clean energy capacity
  • supporting our renewables supply chain to enhance productivity and increase competitiveness, boosting the UK’s world-class clean energy industry
  • improving the scheme to better support energy storage, so projects can provide power when the wind stops blowing or the sun is not shining

This is part of the Year of Climate Action, a defining year for our country and our planet, in the run up to the UK hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.

Over 10% of NHS estate to switch to 100% renewable electricity in April in landmark deal

NHS Property Services (NHSPS) has announced two new energy contracts via Inspired Energy. British Gas will provide 100% renewable electricity and Corona will provide natural gas to all their properties across England by April 2020.

NHSPS is responsible for around 10 per cent of the NHS estate, totalling more than 34 million sq ft, with over 3,500 properties and 5,000 employees, and is committed to actively making its sites more environmentally friendly.

By moving to 100% renewable electricity, NHSPS will offset over 40,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, demonstrating its dedication to tackling climate change while promoting sustainable practices with all its buildings.

The use of renewable electricity won’t increase costs to either NHSPS tenants or NHSPS itself. With the implementation of a new procurement strategy, as part of the new contracts, it will be able to deliver some of the best prices in the market, while managing risk and maintaining budget certainty.

The move follows the launch of the ‘For a greener NHS’ campaign and forms part of NHSPS helping to transform the NHS estate so that it can provide sustainably run buildings that help to deliver excellent patient care.

The NHS is currently responsible for around 4-5% of the UK’s carbon footprint. In September 2019, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said the NHS would be accelerating its efforts to tackle climate change with a series of co-ordinated measures to reduce its carbon output – saying that the health service should also embolden staff to lead discussions with the public about wider measures needed to address climate change.

As well as switching to 100% renewable electricity by April 2020, NHSPS is also committing £1.5m in 2019/20 towards an LED upgrade programme, among other measures.

As well as being responsible for over 11% of the NHS estate itself, NHSPS provides property and facilities management expertise to the NHS. At a time of major change and increasing demand for the NHS, NHS Property Services is reducing costs, creating a more fit for purpose estate and generating vital funds, all of which are reinvested back into the NHS estate to support improvements in frontline patient care.

Commenting on the deal, Martin Steele, Chief Operating Officer at NHS Property Services, said: “Switching to 100% renewable electricity for all our buildings is a landmark moment in efforts to transform our NHS portfolio into a sustainable estate. We take our responsibility towards reducing the environmental impact of our buildings very seriously. This move will also help us to improve the wellbeing of our people and patients whilst reducing NHS operating and maintenance costs.”